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Blast Mini Review

Last updated July 12, 2022

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Author
Author avatar Daniel Booth

Daniel is our resident house gadget geek. He is our man in the frontline, following consumer trends to help him identify the best up and coming tech to review for HouseFresh. When he’s not tinkering with new gadgets, he composes and records his own music at home.

Our verdict:

Smart Air is fairly unknown to the air purifier market compared to the bigger brands, but they’ve entered the arena with a mission; to make easy-to-use, high-performing, no-nonsense air purifiers at a fair price.

Their mid-range unit the Blast Mini is extremely well built. Smart Air has gone in a different direction by making the Blast Mini out of metal over the usual plastic making it more durable.

We’re not sure why they’ve chosen to call it “Mini” as it’s actually quite big for an air purifier but this means they can include a large H13 HEPA filter, although it doesn’t come with an Activated Carbon filter as standard.

The Blast Mini outperformed nearly all the units we’ve tested so far. It’s not loud and although it’s heavy, it has wheels to move it around. It will stand the test of time.

I am impressed.  

Smart Air’s story is one with humble beginnings when founder Thomas Talhelm was a student in Beijing working on his Ph.D. Shocked by the cost of air purifiers, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

By simply strapping a HEPA filter to a fan, he had solved his problem at a fraction of the cost. When he posted his results online, he started to receive positive feedback and questions from folk wanting to do the same. This is when Thomas and his friends decided to start Smart Air. 

Bringing no-nonsense air purifiers to their simplest concept and saving us consumers money along the way.

Here at HouseFresh, we pride ourselves on our approach to reviewing products. Open, honest, and unbiased. We can do this as we buy every product we review and put it through real-world tests in our own homes. 

This time though was a little different. We managed to borrow the Blast Mini from Smart Air under the caveat that we were going to review it with the same guidelines we always do. Open, honest, and unbiased.

TL;DR The Low Down on the Unit

Let’s delve right into it. What’s good, what they could have done better, what you wanna see when you’re skimming sites.

What We Really Like:

👍
It’s made from metal instead of plastic making it more durable and better for our planet

👍 It has a high CADR rating at 435 CFM

👍 The filter boasts a longer life than most other brands

👍 I like the design of the front panel

👍 Easy to use, one dial operation

What We Think Could Be Better:

👎 At 59 lbs, it ain’t easy to move from room to room

👎 Wish they had styled it more like the Health S

👎 The control dial is too hidden

High CADR But High Energy Consumption

Smart Air have really stepped up the game when it comes to CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate). The Blast Mini shows us what’s possible when you use a high-performance motor in your unit. It outperformed units like the Alen BreatheSmart 75i and the IQAir Healthpro Plus, saving you a couple hundred dollars on the price.

Unfortunately, the high-performance motor does come with its own cost, the cost of electricity to run it (we’ll get into that further down).

Purifier technology:H13 HEPA Filter
CADR (CFM / m³/h):435 CFM / 740 m³/h
Recommended room size:915 sq. ft. 
Filter life:33 months
Noise level (low – high):36 – 49 dB
Dimensions (in inches / in cm):22.6L x 13W x 24.8H inches / 57.5L × 33W × 63H cm
Weight (in pounds / in kg):59 lbs / 26.8 kg
Energy consumption:$284.38 per year

The “Mini” That’s Not So Mini

The Blast Mini is a departure from the stylings of the Smart Health S (which I loved). As you can see from the pictures, the Blast Mini looks a lot more clinical and robust than its smaller counterpart.

I really like the design of the front grill. Smart Air has put some effort into the aesthetics making this unit more noticeable compared to others. You can almost tell by the look of it that there’s a big fan hiding beneath the exterior. 

My only real issue is that this unit isn’t mini at all. Personally, I wouldn’t have enough space to use it in my bedroom and it would also look pretty out of place. And that’s if I could lift it up the stairs as this thing is heavy.

I suspect the market they’re going for is offices, clinics, waiting rooms, and commercial spaces. But don’t let that stop you, if you have the space in your home, you’ll soon discover that the performance of this unit far outweighs the look.

Large, Long Life H13 HEPA Filter

By far the most important part of any air purifier is the filter. The size and strength of the filter will determine how effective the unit is at removing airborne contaminants from your home. 

This is where the Blast Mini shows off. Smart Air made it their mission to have the best by testing different filters first, finding the highest performing to match their powerful fan. They decided on a H13 (medical grade) HEPA filter which removes 99.95% of particles like dust, pollen, pet dander, and bacteria to name a few.

Unlike other air purifiers out there which need their HEPA filters replaced every 6 months, the Blast Mini filter can last you up to 33 months (if you run it for 8 hrs a day) saving you money each year.

Replacing the HEPA filter is pretty easy when the time comes:

  1. Remove the top panel
  2. Remove the front panel
  3. Remove the old filter and replace with a new one
  4. Re-place the front panel
  5. Re-place the top panel

On the back of the unit, there’s a pre-filter attached to capture larger particles like dust and hair. This makes sure the HEPA can concentrate on smaller particles, prolonging its lifespan. You can remove the pre-filter with a screwdriver allowing you to clean it with a damp cloth or vacuum cleaner.

For some reason, Smart Air doesn’t provide an Activated Carbon filter as standard, you have to purchase one as an optional extra. It’s pretty standard for air purifiers to include an Activated Carbon filter as they rid your air of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and odors. 

Smart Air’s VOC filter is packed full of activated carbon which works tirelessly to remove odors and other VOCs from your room. They say that they don’t include one because some people don’t need them. I’m not convinced. As a consumer, I would rather pay a little extra and have it as standard.

Always remember to remove any packaging from the filters before switching the Blast Mini on. If you don’t, the filter won’t work and you’ll probably start to smell burning plastic. Which is the opposite effect you want in an air purifier.

One Dial…Yup, Just One

In our reviews, this is usually where we take you through the controls, features, and/or smart technology a unit has. In this case, it’s going to be pretty short.

You see that dial in the picture? That’s it…Oh, there are 3 speeds to choose from. Simply turn the dial to choose which speed you want. Even a child could operate the Blast Mini, as shown by baby Dylan here 😉 All jokes aside, we loved the added protection at the back of the unit to ensure little hands can’t easily access the filters and fan system.

Cleared Our Room in 17 Minutes! 

Now we’ve come to the good part, how this unit actually performs in a real-world setting. If you go onto Smart Air’s YouTube channel, you’ll see videos of them testing performance in translucent domes. We don’t have translucent domes and we guess you don’t either.

So we tested the Blast Mini in an actual room to see how fast it can clear our space of airborne pollutants. The space in question is our 705 cubic ft office which we contaminated with incense smoke before turning the Blast Air on full speed. 

We monitored each stage of our test using our indoor sensor from Purpleair to provide us updates on PM1.0ug/m3, PM2.5ug/m3, and PM10.0 ug/m3.

Here’s what we found:

As you can see from the graph, the Blast Mini took an amazing 17 minutes to clear our room. That is a fantastic result and one of the best we’ve tested coming in only 2 minutes behind the Levoit Core 600S.

Let’s put that into perspective by comparing it to other units which advertise clearing similar-sized spaces.

Air PurifierHow long it took to clean the airRecommended Room SizePrice
Blast Mini17 minutes915 sq. ft$599
Levoit Core 600S15 minutes635 sq. ft$299.99
Alen 75i24 minutesUp to 1300 sq. ft$749
IQAir Healthpro Plus25 minutesUp to 1125 sq. ft$899
Conway Airmega 30026 minutesUp to 1256 sq. ft$549

Because of the size and power of the fan in this unit, you can’t expect it to be “whisper” quiet, but it’s by no means loud. On its lowest speed, you will hear the hum of the motor at 36 dB then as you crank it up, it will reach 49 dB which is about the sound of a conversation. 

The Cost to Run a Blast Mini: $354.37 Per Year

1. Electricity costs

When choosing the right air purifier for your home, there are a few more things to consider past the size of your space and your taste in design. You need to think about how much it will cost to run, especially with ever-rising electricity prices worldwide.

The Blast Mini isn’t the most efficient air purifier on the market. We clocked its highest usage as 130.9 watts which is quite substantial. But, that’s on its highest fan speed, which as we’ve seen, doesn’t need to be on for long periods of time.

It’s recommended that you keep an air purifier on for 8hrs per day. It would be pointless and wasteful to keep the Blast Mini on full for that long. On its lowest setting, this unit will use around 64 watts (which is still a lot compared to the Levoit Core 600S).

We used our Air Purifier Usage Calculator to work out the running costs of the Blast Mini in California at $284.38 per year, that’s 78 cents a day. 

Try our calculator for yourself to see how much it will cost in the state where you live:

2. Filter costs

Another cost to consider is replacing the filters. The filter is the most important part of your air purifier, without it you’ve just got a fan in a box circulating polluted air. As HEPA filters work by trapping these pollutants, over time they become full and less effective. That’s why they need replacing.

Smart Air have manufactured HEPA filters that last longer than most. Usually, these filters last 6 months but the Blast Mini’s can last up to 33 months. This saves big time on the overall running costs.

The downside is the fact that, if you need it (we recommend that you do), you’ll have to purchase an Activated Carbon filter separately. This is where the costs start to add up. Our calculation is based on running the Blast Mini on full with only the HEPA filter to change every year.

Bottom Line

I really like what Smart Air are trying to achieve with the Blast Mini. It’s easy to operate and performed incredibly well in our performance test. It’s built to last and the wheels make it easier to move around.

I can see this unit placed in an office or commercial space but I can’t see it sitting in a home (at least not my home). Compared to other units it’s expensive to run and the fact that an Activated Carbon filter costs extra bugs me.

But, you just can’t argue with its performance. 

If you want a hardworking unit and aren’t hung up on smart features, the Blast Mini might just be the right unit for you. Before you click that button, check out some of our other reviews, you might find something else that suits you better.

The Rules We Followed When Reviewing the Blast Mini

Our reviews are written to give you an idea of what a unit is like and how it performs in a real-world environment so you, the consumer, get an understanding of which air purifiers are great and which to avoid.

We didn’t rely on manufacturers’ feature lists and specification figures. We do the research, then we do our own tests. We test each air purifier under the same conditions so we can give you our data and make realistic comparisons with the other units we have tested.

Our Testing Process 

At the end of the day, we are consumers trying to advise other consumers so we want our tests to be accurate. We always research CADR rankings and other performance metrics published by the manufacturers, but we don’t just leave it at that. 

We’re different from other sites as we only review air purifiers which we have used and tested ourselves. This way we’re 100% confident we are giving you the facts when it comes down to performance testing.

We test all the models we review in the same room (sized 705 cubic ft) removing the same contaminants from the air (incense smoke). This allows us to compare units side by side.

We use the PurpleAir PA-I Indoor PM 2.5 Sensor that combines the ability to track PM1.0ug/m3, PM2.5ug/m3, and PM10.0 ug/m3 every few minutes. 

We then use Flourish to visualize the data which helps us work out how long it took the Blast Mini to remove all pollutants from the air.

SOURCES

We calculated the monthly energy consumption costs with the help of our air purifier electricity usage calculator. We calculated daily and yearly costs associated with running an air purifier for 24hs a day in California. You can customize the result by air purifier wattage and by state.

Last update on 2022-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API